Tempo Run for Beginners – A Step by Step Guide

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Do you want to take your running experience to the next level? Do you want to build that endurance? Want to know the secret of doing tempo run properly? Then this is the right article for you. This detailed guide will discuss everything you need to know about tempo run for beginners.

What is Tempo Run?

First, you need to know what tempo run is. It’s not complicated. It’s basically the middle ground of casual run and super-fast run. 

When you run super-fast, you will get to a point where oxygen will not be properly delivered to your muscles. You will feel this inside your body. This will create lactic acid. That’s why this run is also called lactate threshold runs. You can increase your endurance and stamina by performing tempo runs.

What is the ideal tempo running pace

So you must be eager to try out a tempo run for yourself. First, set a time limit and pace that you’re comfortable with. For beginners, 10 minutes can be a good starting time. In these 10 minutes, try to maintain your pace and end the session with ease.

This pace should be something that you will be able to achieve. Not taking too much pressure on your body.

How long should a tempo run be?

Now you must be wondering how long should you do your tempo run. Well, for beginners, you can start with 5 minutes. If you see that you can run comfortably in that 5 minutes, then increase it to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. That’s how you can increase your tempo run length. You can’t jump into 20 minutes at the very fast.


You need to keep in mind that you are giving proper time to conditioning your body. If you have enough strength in your lower body and it can support you, then you can confidently pull off that tempo run session you wanted to do for so long.

Goal distance

And when it comes to the goal, you need to keep in mind how much you want to cover in any running event. Or how much you want to cover in your everyday practice.

Here’s a chart that will tell you how much you need to do tempo run to achieve that goal.

Training for ‘x’ raceTempo run should be
5k3 – 4 km
10k4 – 7 km
21.1k8 – 12km
42.2k16 – 24km

How often should you do a tempo run

You must be wondering how often you should do a tempo run. Well, there’s no straight answer to that question. 

If you do a tempo run every single day, then there’s a high chance that you’ll get yourself injured, and you won’t be able to race/run when the time comes. 

Then again, if you do a tempo run once a month, then it will be too low to improve your running performance.

You need to find a balance between these two, where you won’t be injured, and your performance will be top-notch as well.

My advice will be to have one tempo run every seven days. That should get you started.

Tempo run vs. interval running – Main differences

If you’re active in the running community, you must have heard these two terms a lot, one is interval training, and the other is tempo run, which I’m discussing at the moment.

If you want to improve your VO2 Max, also known as maximum oxygen consumption, you need to focus on interval training.

In this training, you won’t be able to talk while running.

On the other hand, if you want to increase your lactate threshold, you need to do tempo training.

But there should be a good mix in your training program of both. Focusing on one training and neglecting the other completely won’t be wise. That’s what I think.

Can you do a tempo run on the treadmill?

The treadmill is by far the best way to start with tempo training. Because in treadmill you don’t have to worry about the pace. You can just select the pace at the start and run accordingly.

Running on the treadmill can be really good for you if you’re just starting. You will find the comfortable pace that you can for a long time.

How to do a tempo run?

Before doing a tempo run, make sure you have done a proper warm-up. Before doing any kind of training, you need to warm yourself up. 

The rule of a tempo run is you can’t stop in between. You have to keep on moving. If you can maintain this, then you’re good to go for tempo training.

Now I will give you some tempo workouts that you can try. It’s up to which one suits you the best. All are considered good tempo run for beginners.

The treadmill pace run

For beginners’ treadmill tempo run is really easy. Before hopping on the treadmill, do some warm-up sessions for 5 to 10 minutes. Then set up a pace that is comfortable to you. Then without interruption, continue running with that pace for 10-15 minutes. After finishing the session, take some time to cool off.

Lactate threshold run

In lactate threshold run, first, warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes. Then once your body is loosened up, you can run for 20 minutes at your comfortable pace. After finishing the run, take some time to cool off.

The tempo repetitions

This training exercise is super fun to do. In this training, first, you need to do some warm-up exercises. Then you can increase your pace slightly and run for 3 minutes. 

Then you can run at a warm-up pace for 3 minutes. If you want to make it more intense, then you can make it 5 minutes. And you need to repeat this cycle three times. Then to finish it off, just take some time to cool off.

Hilly tempo run

Tempo run in a hilly area can be super enjoyable to you. First, locate a hill that can be covered within 15-20 minutes of running. Make sure the hill is not too steep. 

Do some warm-ups before running. Then maintain your pace and try to reach the top of the hill.

It will increase not only your endurance but also your strength.

Marathon pace tempo run – the Hanson method

If you have a marathon or half marathon coming, then this training program is perfect for you. Just do some warm-ups and run for around 60 to 90 minutes. Make sure you maintain the speed that you desire. After finishing the run, take some time to cool off.


That’s all it for today. Now you know how to perform tempo run for beginners. You can do this training without any injury and reap the maximum benefits. Do let me know whether you learned something new regarding this topic reading this article.

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